These incubators are hatching the titans of tomorrow

These incubators are hatching the titans of tomorrow

Six operations that provide space, training and sage advice

MaRS, Toronto’s mecca of innovation Photograph by Daniel Neuhaus


What it is: The organization offers 1.5-million square feet of office space in four towers along Hospital Row.
Who it’s for: Companies in the early stages of growth in four areas: health, finance, energy, and work and learning.
What they get: Access to incubator and accelerator programs like MaRS Start and MaRS Growth, and investments like the MaRS Catalyst Fund for corporate social responsibility.
What it costs: Free.
Notable tenants: Facebook, Airbnb, PayPal, League.

The Founder City Project

What it is: A network of CEOs and start-up types. Members meet in small groups monthly and can sign up for in-depth training on scaling, recruiting, diversity, and more.
Who it’s for: Founders and tech employees in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor.
What they get: Mentoring, peer-learning sessions and exclusive networking events.
What it costs: $850 for male trainees, free for women.
Notable alumni: Wattpad, Big Viking Games, VarageSale.

Photograph by Steve Tsai
Ryerson DMZ

What it is: The best university incubator in North America, according to the research firm UBI Global. It opened a New York outpost in June.
Who it’s for: Pre–funding stage start-ups with working prototypes.
What they get: Office space, pitch workshops, one-on-one meetings with investors, and access to an advisory council with big shots like ex–Wind Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera and former CBCer Kirstine Stewart.
What it costs: $400 a month.
Notable tenants: Dot Health, an app that helps people access their medical records; AccessNow, a service that allows people to find accessible bars, restaurants and the like.

Next Canada

What it is: A nationwide non-profit that offers three different programs for developing founders and start-ups.
Who it’s for: Next 36 is an eight-month accelerator for companies; Next Founders trains individual entrepreneurs; and a new stream, Next AI, helps start-ups in artificial intelligence.
What they get: Mentoring from a network that includes Hubba’s Ben Zifkin and Top Hat’s Mike Silagadze; an intensive business-building curriculum; a chance to pitch to investors; and access to advisers in operations, sales and media relations.
What it costs: Free.
Members: Staffy, an Uber-style temp service; Crowdbabble, a social analytics firm.
Notable alumni: Bridgit, which makes management software for construction sites; Sampler, a product sample delivery service.

Photograph by Daniel Neuhaus

What it is: A start-up network and co-working space in a sleek, sprawling Front Street facility.
Who it’s for: Start-ups that have raised between $1 -million and $5 million.
What they get: Meetings with investors, founder events, and Ping-Pong and foosball tables.
What it costs: A desk in an open-concept office starts at $500 a month.
Notable tenants: Zoom, an AI executive assistant; Dropbike, a bike-sharing service.


What it is: A 12-week boot camp of workshops and mentoring that culminates with “demo day,” a chance for start-ups to pitch their companies to investors.
Who it’s for: Established start-ups can enroll in the Accelerator program, while new companies can enter the less-intensive Funnel stream.
What they get: Mentoring, office space, legal and accounting services, and access to an international exchange program with placements in New York and Hong Kong.
What it costs: 7.5 per cent of the company’s equity.
Notable alumni: Limelight, an event marketing software; the data analytics firm Qoints; the portable home security system Alertly.

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